• Human Rights Watch

Increased Arrests of Activists Commemorating Tiananmen Square Massacre

June 3, 2022

[Image Source: © 2021 Daniel Suen and Bertha Wang/AFP/Getty Images]

Cited article by Human Rights Watch


HRRC commemorates those killed in the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre for protesting for freedom of expression and calling for government officials to be held accountable. The Chinese government must accept responsibility and conduct investigations into the massacre of peaceful demonstrators. Further, the recent arrests of activists must cease and all released without harm or repercussions.


Article Summary


Reports over the past year indicate that Chinese authorities have increased harassment of activists commemorating the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. In Hong Kong, 26 pro-democracy demonstrators were arrested for participating in a 2020 vigil honoring the victims of the massacre, with authorities stating they were "inciting" others. Hong Kong authorities banned the vigil in Victoria Park in both 2020 and 2021. Additionally, memorials in Hong Kong universities have been removed.


While the United States and European Union have imposed sanctions for China's refusal to address the ongoing calls for justice for the massacre, there has been little ongoing or coordinated effort. Those massacred in 1989 were a group of peaceful demonstrators who were calling for freedom of expression, government accountability, and an end to corruption. On June 3rd and 4th, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers killed an unknown number of these peaceful protestors and thousands were arrested in the aftermath. The Chinese government has never accepted responsibility for the massacre nor held any officials accountable.